It’s been a few months since I’ve written and for my readers who have checked in on me, I am so thankful for your kind words of encouragement! I decided I needed a break from social media and writing in general in order to process a few events that took place in my life. I needed this time to work through some negative emotions, forgive people, and most importantly let God heal my heart.
I don’t want this to be a typical girl post ( what I mean by that is a simply a venting of emotions). What I hope to by sharing my experience is what God taught me during this season of my life. Also, I want to offer some encouragement as I believe this type of experience I am about to share is relatively common, but not so much talked about.
A few months ago, I went through a season of betrayal. The type of betrayal I experienced is the type that has to do with friendship. I walked in fellowship with these women for years and we shared our lives together. There is such joy and safety in having these relationships.
Before everything happened, I prayed for God to reveal to me who my true friends were. I prayed this because I was beginning to sense something that I couldn’t really pinpoint, a vague disconnection.
**To be sensitive to parties involved, I will not be going in to the context of what specifically took place. I have been guarding my heart against bitterness, and do not want to slander anybody as “love covers a multitude of sin.” Also, I have forgiven each of these ladies, as Christ has forgiven me. In addition, Jesus tells us to love our enemies and to live peaceably with everyone.
I will, however, be honest about how this betrayal effected me and why we as image bearers of Christ need to make sure that we handle conflict in a God-honoring and healthy way.
This all started with gossip and a rumor. Being honest and real here, I’m not new to this. While I was growing up, I was constantly the center of gossip/ rumors. From the ages of 7-12 were a nightmare for me. I would come home crying every single day from school. It got so bad that my mom had to have meetings with other moms at school. Talk about childhood drama. I believe it was because I exhibited a type of independence that a lot of women do not develop until they hit their teens. Also, having a twin brother made me somewhat of a tomboy. I wasn’t the a sit-around-and-paint-nails girl. By the way, I love doing my hair and makeup now– it just wasn’t something I enjoyed at a younger age. I liked to play outside, climbing trees, riding bikes, anything but being indoors. SO, I was me and that was different, and other girls who were insecure with others being different couldn’t handle that. We’ve all heard stories like this. Maybe even have participated in gossip ourselves. Its very common. There have been scholarly articles written about how this occurs as part of female development!
Back to the betrayal. Close people to me spread rumors, gossip, and I was hurt. I couldn’t believe that after all of the years I sat with these women that they would do this. I really tried to deny the fact that this occurred, until I had multiple people in my life who heard this rumor genuinely reach out asking me how they could help.
It was definetely more than awkward and uncomfortable to explain to these caring people that unfortunately what they heard was a rumor.
I knew that if I had any chance of salvaging friendship, some ownership on their end would need to be taken. The foundation of trust that we had was pretty much destroyed. In order to have a healthy friendship, a foundation of honestly needs to be established. I assumed going into a conversation with these women, that I would receive apologies and everything would go back to normal. I wasn’t prepared for what took place.
Because there was no ownership of their sin, even when graciously confronted with truth and a willingness to understand, I knew the friendship needed to have space. The conversation itself didn’t go well, and left me feeling pretty empty.
Looking back from that moment over a year later ( yes it has been a long season of the Lord dealing with me). He has taught me how to love my enemies.
Instead of avoiding these women, ( which I did in the beginning), the Lord challenged me to serve them. I really didn’t want to, and it took supernatural stregnth to do what the Lord asked. He reminded me of this passage many times:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Matthew 5:43-38.
For example, the instant someone betrays us, our instict is to go into protection mode. We shut these people out of our lives, and generally don’t want to do anything with them. It is natural and safe. But what if we allowed God to work in that- instead of trying to control our boundary lines, can we let go? Can we allow Jesus to challenge us in those areas of our lives, too?
I did. Jesus challenged me to have these women over for tea in my home, and serve them a meal. My reaction to this was at first anger, then pleading, and finally submission to God’s will. I asked and He answered, so it was on me at this point!
We lovingly invite our friends over for coffee and tea, serve them food, and generally spend time with them. Do we do this with our enemies?…No. This is what the Lord was calling me to.
He wanted me to treat this women with love, respect, kindness, and servanthood just like everyone else. I baked the cookies, poured the tea, and prayed. With a knock on the door, I invited them in. Did it feel good? In the moment, not really. But I believe the Lord rewarded my faithfulness by giving me peace and joy afterwards. I was no longer holding on to bitterness and anger for what these women did. I had a new sense of grace, I wanted to understand them more. I wanted them to feel valued for who they were in Christ, and I believe that God gave me the ability to show them mercy.
Earlier I mentioned how empty I felt during this season. I felt alone, betrayed, and honestly storm-tossed. Who could I trust? Would the next friend I made do the same thing to me? While I felt all these things, Jesus reminded me that He would always be my truest friend and confidant. He knew what type of betrayal I had experienced because He endured the worst kind.
His dearest friends whom he trusted had betrayed him in his hour of greatest need. They fled when trouble came. Some pretended not to know Him. What was His response? Forgiveness.
When we feel empty and know that we cannot forgive within ourselves, this is where Christ lives in us. He wants us to come to Him and allow Him to be with us in our hour of greatest need.
These verses in particular have brought me comfort and hope during this season:
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
The Lord will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing,” Isaiah 51:1-3.
This section of Isaiah has to do with salvation for Zion, but it reminded me of the God that I serve- One who is Righteous, a Rock, my Fortress. He is my Comforter who shows me compassion in all of my waste places ( in this case deep betrayals). He promises to restore my joy and gladness!
I’ll be honest, I’m still waiting on the Lord to bring the relationships into my life that I desire, but for now He is my greatest joy and my truest friend.